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Traversée du Bosphore - A mysterious delight (February 18, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Wikipedia - Waterfront Houses on the Bosphorus - Ayça Leovinus

I have a friend who’s travelled to every continent, some two or three times.  A few months ago I asked her “What’s your favourite place in the world, where do you want to go back to?” and without a moment’s hesitation she said “Istanbul! Turkey!”

Turkey is an emerging economy – I’d read the recent article on Turkey in The Economist, which was about its rising influence and political importance to the West, Middle and Far East, but I didn’t have a clear visual image of the country , or its most famous city, Istanbul. So I went to my favourite information source, Wikipedia, and found out right away that I was totally ignorant about this historic, beautiful city formerly known as Constantinople, 5th largest in the world with a population of 13 million, gateway to the East, situated on two continents, divided by the Strait of Bosphorus.

Traversée du Bosphore - Crossing the Bosphorus. Interesting name for a perfume, I think, kinda different for L’ it supposed to be a Turkish fragrance? The SA tells me that it’s supposed to be a gourmand-oriental scent - like Turkish Delight.  It’s the new release by Bertrand Duchaufour, so remembering Timbuktu, another of his "far away in an exotic land" scents, I expect to love it. But guess what? I’m underwhelmed when I try the tester in the store –  too sweet, too  pale, and not what I expect  –so I move on and forget about it.

Until Gwen gives me a sample (the Queen of Samples makes certain we get samples to test "the best of the new” – how she does it continues to amaze me), and I  try it for real.   I was wrong – it’s pretty terrific, and M. Duchaufour has done it again. I had to buy a bottle.

The notes are: Tobacco smoke, apple, pomegranate, tulip, iris, leather, saffron, Turkish delight accord (rose, lemon, and almond or pistachio), vanilla, musks. The top notes on my skin are pure Duchaufour – saffron, leather that’s buttery soft suede not horsehide, an iris accord that smells dry and slightly smoky – I’m loving it. And soon the fruits appear- I absolutely smell apple and a bit of pear, I think - but these notes are like a suggestion of fruits rather than a fruity blast, and they waft in and out.

After 30 minutes or so, the sweetness starts to develop and the aroma of the rosy (I see pink rose petals), nutty softness of the Turkish Delight dusted with pale, powdered sugar takes over. The amazing thing about this gourmand stage is the sheer lightness of the scent – this isn’t Serge Lutens' thick syrupy Rahat Loukham – this scent wafts serenely.

Later the vanilla and musk give Traversée du Bosphore more weight but it is still a soft luminous scent, with hints of velvety leather and smokey incense returning to tease your nose through the drydown.

So why do I think Traversée du Bosphore is pretty terrific? The fragrance has the element of surprise that I love – just when you think it’s one thing, it becomes another, and then another. And also, it has what I can only describe as a mysterious sensual quality to it, despite its quiet character, a feeling of strangeness that hints of other older cultures and experiences.

Kind of like being in Istanbul, I think, where East meets West. It’s called Traversée du Bosphore for a reason.


Traversée du Bosphore is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.